Magny Cours is still in the race to host France’s return to F1. But according to RMC, the race’s former host – having run the French grand prix between 1991 and 2008 – has been handed a much higher price-tag than Paul Ricard.
Just before Nicolas Sarkozy lost the recent presidential election, the basis of an agreement to annually alternate a French GP with Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps was agreed. The 2013 host would be Paul Ricard, the Bernie Ecclestone-owned circuit, and the race fee EUR 22 million.
Politics, it seems, have intervened.
Francois Hollande, France’s new president, is not a supporter of the grand prix, and vowed to re-evaluate the sport’s return to the country.
RMC reports that officials at Magny Cours have used the opportunity to “repeatedly” contact F1 chief executive Ecclestone in recent days. The Nievre region is politically aligned with the new administration, but Ecclestone is reportedly “asking EUR 10 million more” for a race at Magny Cours.
Politics, however, could also be on Paul Ricard’s side, with Citroen’s former world rally boss Olivier Quesnel reportedly lined up to lead the F1 project. Quesnel is reportedly close to FIA president Jean Todt, and the pair apparently met earlier this week.